Knowledge and Attitudes as Influencing Factors For Adopting Health Care Technology Among Medical Students in Germany
Telemedicine services are increasingly being tested in pilot projects and integrated into standard care. One of the primary reasons for the failure of such innovation processes is the lack of user acceptance. This will soon affect doctors who will have to use telemedicine but will be unfamiliar with it. Knowledge and attitudes prevalent amongst medical students in Germany were surveyed and their perceived relevance for medical practice analysed. METHODS: In an online-based approach 524 medical students in Germany were interviewed. The participants (63.6% women, average age 25 years) were randomly selected. Correlations were tested within a linear regression model between the expressed expectations (independent variables) and the perceived importance of telemedicine for their future medical practice (dependent variable).RESULTS: The students surveyed showed great interest in telemedicine. The increasing mechanisation of care processes is generally viewed positively. The sooner medical students develop a positive attitude towards the impact of telemedicine for a given medical treatment (p=0.006), diagnostic and therapeutic efficiency (p=0.008) and public health-related costs (p=0.002), the more they tend to assign technology a high value for their future professional practice. There is, however, a lack of information about the potential use of technology. CONCLUSIONS: There is an urgent need to eliminate knowledge deficits in order to develop treatment-related telemedicine services. This would include more professional publications and furthering education, as well as training more physicians in telemedicine in Germany.
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